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SPIN CYCLE With so many different scandal to his credit and numerous ongoing investigations pending President Clinton has been bombarded by the media in a fashion not seen since the last days of the Nixon administration Despite this unwanted attention Clinton has managed to maintain lofty approval ratings and successfully deflect even the most ardent attacks How does he do it This question is answered in full in Spin Cycle a backroom look at how news is created and packaged in the White House and the methods used to distribute it to the public In painting a detailed picture of the hand-to-hand combat known as a press conference Kurtz shows how the use of controlled leaks meticulously worded briefs and the outright avoidance of certain questions allows the White House to control the scope and content of the stories that make it to the front page and the nightly network news As Kurtz makes clear the president and First Lady are convinced that the media are out to get them while the journalists covering the White House are constantly frustrated at the stonewalling and the lack of cooperation they encounter while trying to do their jobs In the middle is the White House press secretary Mike McCurry a master at defusing volatile situations and walking the fine line with the press Though less paranoid and cynical of the media than Clinton he often finds himself on both ends of personal attacks and vendettas that veer far outside the arena of objective reporting The anecdotes and carefully buried information that Kurtz has uncovered give this book a brisk pace along with ample invaluable information that cuts to the core of this age of media overkill Kurtz focuses mainly on White House response to scandal news in 1996 and 1997 and he does not purport to cover most other aspects of the relationship between the president and the press And within the narrow scope of his
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